Wednesday, November 20, 2013

[Submission] Timmie - Aura

Arkansas producer Timmie recently dropped his album Aura and while short in duration it is an enjoyable listen. Aura's best quality is the trance like state you fall into listening to it, all eight tracks really flowed cohesively together. Credit to Timmie for that. I normally don't enjoy purely instrumental albums but this one is really nice.

[Submission] A Kid Named Apollo & Elleffo - Labyrinth ft Katerina

Nice track I received from AKNP and Elleffo featuring some sung vocals from Katerina. 

[Submission] Zen Gnarly - Wssup

Lebanon, Pennsylvania native Zen Gnarly recently sent me his track "Wssup" along with the video for it. It's definitely one of the better submissions I've gotten, nice flow and production from Mike Mo Beats. If you like what you hear be sure to check out the rest of Zen's music over at his SoundCloud and look for his upcoming project Golden

Thursday, November 7, 2013

[Video] Nardwuar vs.Earl Sweatshirt & Syd The Kyd

The Human Serviette does what he does best and comes with the facts and gifts for Odd Future's Earl Sweatshirt and Syd The Kyd of The Internet. It's interesting seeing how Earl doesn't remember the story about his pants because I know exactly what Nardwuar is talking about. So either Earl lied when he posted that story (which has since been deleted) long ago in his Sly Tendencies BlogSpot days or he truly doesn't remember. Hmm...

[Video] Freddie Gibbs - Still Livin' 2

Freddie Gibbs has been relatively quite musically since dropping his album ESGN back in June, however today Gibbs decided to release the sequel to his "Still Livin" from his Baby Face Killa project more recently heard on the soundtrack to GTA V. Gotta hand it to him I like 2 just as much if not more than the original, Gibbs is one of the most consistent artists after Curren$y in my opinion.

Eminem - Don't Front ft Buckshot

Eminem flips Black Moon's "I Got Cha Opin" and puts his own spin on the classic record. Slim definitely took it back to the Marshall Mathers days with this one. MMLP2 in stores now.

Monday, November 4, 2013

[Mixtape Review] Marki$ Apollo - ChapterXX

Marki$ Apollo is a problem. He is definitely one of the best lyricist in the indie game right now, few can match dude. However, I've known that since listening to his self described "lyrical exhibition" XIII with his project ChapterXX I wanted to know how he stacked up as an artist and I feel CXX proves that Apollo is just more than lyricist. 

The inevitable comparison to Kendrick Lamar is going to come up when discussing Marki$, I don't know he himself has heard them but his flow at times is reminiscent of King Kendrick. It's ironic that the first track "Blvkkk Godz" is over Lamar's "Sherane" but over the course of my listen I found myself moving away from my initial comparison. If anything he is a product of Kendrick's lyricism combined with Pusha T's raw delivery, which is a deadly combination. 

I have to give credit to Apollo for creating one of the most cohesive tapes I've heard since Section.80 and ChapterXX is very reminiscent of it with it's soul sound something that is a trademark of young Apollo. The comparison ends at the production however, the two are very different content wise if Section.80 is for the 80's babies than CXX speaks for the 90's generation. 

Now with most lyrical artist projects can tend to get boring mainly due to weak production (Nas and Lupe come to mind) or due to preachy lyrics/over-the-top lyricism (Cannibus and Jay Electronica i.e.) Apollo keeps it interesting with the production featured on the tape which never bores for the most part. CXX features a nice mixture of highly lyrical tracks and smooth bangers, I definitely recommend listening to it in your car or if you have good headphones or a nice speaker system. The lyrics never outshine the production and vice-versa, the perfect balance. 

I can not praise Apollo's lyricism enough and again the production featured is top notch, a mixture of some familiar industry beats with a enough twist on them to make them Apollo's own and some original. Cohesive sound throughout, it sounds like Marki$ took his time and crafted every track as perfect as possible. Another improvement over his previous effort, HOOKS!!! for a while Apollo didn't have any tracks with a hook or chorus and while it didn't take away from his music I couldn't let him off the hook (no pun intended seriously) when he sent me his various tracks.

Marki$ Apollo is one of the many artist I know personally but he is one of the few I actually can see having what it takes to succeed in the music business. Only time will tell what will be written about him at the end of his time but I honestly believe if he continues on the path he is on, he'll eventually become the success I already see him as. 

+ High lyrical ability 
+ Cohesive sound
+ Excellent production
+ Clear vision 

- Messing up that Tekken reference (lol)


[Mixtape Review] Johny Locus - Point Blank

If it's one thing I like in music it is honesty, I'm always impressed when artists are able to be real with themselves in their music. Just about 40 seconds into Point Blank Johny Locus did just that "Me style on that second tape, my third tape a mistake". Since we're being honest I feel just like that. I was introduced to Johny through his second tape Something To Listen To at that point he had only been rapping a few months but he showed real promise. After sometime he dropped the follow up Music Speaks Louder Than Lyrics and if you read the write up for STLT I was excited to see how Johny would progress. To my disappointment it was as if he abandoned everything that worked on his first tape and regressed in skill. I didn't even bother posting it, don't get me wrong Johny is the homie but I couldn't support that. I'm just glad that Johny himself realized that long before it was too late.

Getting to Point Blank itself I'll start off by simply stating it is one of my personal favorite indie tapes this year. Johny likes to call himself "SNB's Finest" but he is more like SNB's Best Kept Secret. Steezy and Rashad tend to receive the most shine but Johny is definitely the most talented rapper out of the entire SNB. No disrespect intended. Throughout the entire tape he continually impressed me with his improved lyricism,  delivery and subject matter. Which is a bit more mature than his SNB counterparts as well and a welcomed addition to his repertoire. For the most part all the tracks worked for me aside from lacking guest verses/poor sound quality but that is mostly due to the guest and not Johny. The only track I didn't care for is "Comparisons" which felt unneeded and overly aggressive compared to the rest of the tape's mellow sound.

Another strong point was the production featured on the tape. Johny did well in picking beats that fit him and his style well. The sound clips spread throughout the tape also did well in breaking up the monogamy that a lot of projects suffer from just going from song to song without a pause or interlude. 

All together Point Blank is a good start at getting back on the right track for Johny. I feel like if he can prove to be consistent and delivers with his next project, he'll start to get some of the shine he deserves. After showing that initial promise and then the unfortunate decline, it seems Johny is back and on the way up. 

+ Sharp lyricism & wordplay
+ Good production
+ Subject matter 
+ Improvement over last projects

- Hit or miss features
- "Comparisons" 
- Sound quality lacking on certain tracks 


Matt McGhee - Whatever ft rMell

GramFam's Matt McGhee and rMell want you dance or bailo in this case, either way with the catchy bossa nova-esque production it's hard not to. While Matt and rMell prove once again that their chemistry is unmatched when it comes to duos, the most impressive thing about the track in my opinion is the production. I don't think Matt gets enough credit for just how great of a producer he is. I'm not sure if this is from Matt's upcoming 1920 project but with this and his recent tracks "Good Luck" and "IDK" his stock is quickly rising. Quality music and Matt McGhee are becoming synonymous and I can't say that for a lot of artists out here. 

Be sure to support Matt's "IDK" by purchasing it from iTunes. Also, checkout rMell's "Bape Kondumu". 

Sidenote: This is probably my favorite verse from rMell ever, clever wordplay throughout. Props for that.

Isaiah Rashad - Ronnie Drake ft SZA

Isaiah Rashad is slowly becoming a force to be reckoned with after dropping the remix to his TDE debut "I Shot You Down" with fellow label mates Jay Rock & ScHoolBoy Q, $pottie is back with another TDE collab "Ronnie Drake" this time with fellow newcomer SZA. I've been waiting for these two to collab since the announcement of their signings, I feared however it would sound weak and forced. Contrary to my fears the two actually have great chemistry together and it shows as Isaiah spits and SZA sings over some groovy production from The Antydote. TDE has been on a roll since last year and it doesn't seem like they'll be stopping anytime soon.

[Video] Ciscero - All I Need Is Soul ft Matt McGhee

Maryland artist Ciscero has been on my radar for a while now after hearing some impressive guest features from him on various projects. I've been waiting for some solo material from him though to see if he can hold his own, when he's the leading name in the title and homie doesn't disappoint. With some crisp visuals from the c(k)reative genius Helena Banks herself and a excellent guest verse from GramFam's Matt McGhee "All I Need Is Soul" is a definite standout indie cut. Backed by some druggy minimalistic production, Ciscero and Matt weave crafty wordplay all through their respective verses. Good video, good music.

Be sure to be on the lookout for Ciscero's upcoming project Kids Wear Crowns later this year.

[EP] Curren$y x Smoke DZA x Harry Fraud - The Stage

After back to back tapes with Young Roddy, Curren$y decides to switch it up and grab another JetLifer Smoke DZA and producer extraordinaire Harry Fraud joins in on the fun. While it is shorter in duration than his previous effort with Fraud, it definitely more than makes up for it in the quality of music. 

Sidenote: Keep French Montana on HF production, this might be the best verse from him seriously. 

Fredo Santana - Jealous ft Kendrick Lamar

The self-proclaimed "King Of Chicago" Fredo Santana links up with the self-proclaimed "King Of New York" Kendrick Lamar for this unexpected track entitled "Jealous". I don't know what it is with Kendrick but he somehow seems to bring out the best in "trap" rappers, just like his collab with Gunplay, this is definitely the best I've heard from Fredo. Fredo with Kendrick on the track now that's a truly scary sight...